The adrenalin level was after the discreet alarm clock of the morning at a performance-enhancing level, so the cycling day could begin. Today the route Tain - Inverness - Nairn was on the agenda.

For the first 20 minutes I was a little afraid that I would spend the day on the A9. Anyone who has ever been up here knows that the road is the main infrastructural artery of the Highlands. Accordingly, it is heavily frequented by trucks. According to the progress so far I can state two things: 1. the truck drivers proceed on the country roads to very large parts cautiously, if they overtake a cyclist - or at least me - possibly they recognize me as one of theirs because of the luggage quantities. And 2. it is nevertheless no fun at all to be overtaken by a truck. They are just too big, too loud and generate far too much wind and suction. It is almost impossible for me to prevent a certain amount of wobbling when I am overtaken by a truck. So much the preface, so little the necessity: After a few kilometers my app led me to the right and to the Kessock Bridge in Inverness it was almost 60 km in wonderful seclusion far away from any main road. Whether it was the nice weather, the good course of the road, possible tail wind or the morning adrenalin I can't say for sure, but it was a very digestible, fast stage. I just rolled along, it felt like even when it was uphill.

 

In the afternoon I came to Inverness, crossed the big bridge in the much easier direction and out of the blue all relaxation was gone. The app suddenly began to crack and could only be brought to its senses by restarting the phone completely. Then the extremely bicycle-suitable distance of the day so far was contrasted by a - fortunately quite short - section along the A9, which is here a four-lane-road and by local standards enormously strongly and rapidly travelled. Even though I'm now pretty safe on my steel horse: Here I was immediately under tension. A confusing route to the east followed. When I had finally made it back to a quieter area, my gear change suddenly made an unpleasant and miserable noise only a few gear changes later and so much for a carefree change between the gears. I tried to adjust the front derailleur twice, but only with moderate success. There were still about 20km to go to Nairn. Fortunately they weren't very challenging, so I was able to complete them successfully with the remaining gear options. Obviously I was doing so well that I decided not to go directly to the next campsite, which was part of the camping and caravanning club network that I had already tried and tested, and preferred to drive another 3km to be closer to the place. There I found a rather elaborate campsite, which can be described as a kind of village for mobile homes. There would have been a lot of entertainment options here: Cinema, swimming pool, fitness room, a bigger and more frequented restaurant. But none of them even remotely appealed to me that evening.
I had to pay almost 20€ for the sparse space for my tent. In the night, this space turned out to be heavily influenced noisewise by the nearby industrial plant. All this lead to an enournmous growth in my Come-On-Day-We-Really-Where-Good-Friends-Before-And-Now-This-Account.
The next morning I woke up only moderately refreshed. I started the day with another attempt at repairing the gearshift. Now I had a bit more success, so that I could change between high and low gears at least reasonably reliably. Even if this let to a certain degree of satisfaction: I didn't feel like staying at this very beautiful place anymore, blessed with a great golf course and another very good one. It pushed me further and I hoped that in Lossiemouth, about 50km away, I would find proper technical support, which obviously didn't seem to exist in Nairn.
The fact that I rejected both Dornoch and Nairn for golf gave me something to think about. There is no question that the two courses are real treasures, but somehow they didn't seem attractive enough. Maybe in Lossiemouth, which also spreads the spirit of the game in and around Moray Golf Club with its Old and New course, I could get a little more enjoyment out of the game?

Anyway, the day gets a mixed bag of sweets - liquorice included. I don't like licorice.

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